Sports Wagering In Minnesota Could Hinge On Electronic Pull Tabs

Minnesota’s current online sports betting legislation hangs in the balance, and online pull-tab games — similar to those you’ll see in states with online lotteries — could tip the scales. 

The state has a pair of sports betting bills currently making their way through the legislature. However, the Allied Charities of Minnesota raised concerns about legal sports betting in the state, fearing it would interfere with electronic pull-tab games in the state’s restaurants and bars, which serve charitable causes.

How electronic pull tabs could impact MN sports betting bill

In 2023, the state prohibited electronic pull-tab games from using an “open-all” structure, instead requiring players to individually “open” each game. 

Minnesota’s Native American tribes drove this change via years of lobbying and legal action. They purported that pull-tab games had become similar to slot machines, thus encroaching on their exclusive casino game rights in Minnesota. 

The impact on sports betting efforts, therefore, is relatively indirect. The state legislature is concerned it could lose votes in favor of legalization amid concerns about pull-tab and charity contributions dropping, should sports betting come to Minnesota. 

Increased tax rate might lead to compromise

To curb the concerns about pull-tab games losing revenue due to sports betting and the prohibition on the “open-all” feature, the charities behind the games reached an agreement with Rep. Zack Stephenson. Stephenson is the sponsor behind one of the state House bills to legalize sports betting. 

Under the new agreement, the charities won’t seek to overturn the “open-all” prohibition. In return, the bill will double its proposed tax rate from 10% to 20%. The increased taxes will support $40 million in cuts for charitable gambling providers. 

Rachel Jenner, Allied Charities Executive Director, said:

“We are hopeful that the sports betting legislation will pass and give Minnesota charities the much needed tax relief. This historic reduction in taxes will allow us to better serve our communities.”

She continued by saying the organization’s moratorium on opposing the “open-all” feature rule will wait until the wider effects of sports betting on the Minnesota economy can be determined.


Photo credit: Abbie Parr / AP

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush

Cole Rush is a contributor for PlayiLottery who spent six years working at Scientific Games, one of the world's leading lottery operators. He writes for a handful of Catena Media sites, covering online lottery, iGaming, sports betting, and more. A prolific writer in the US gaming market, Cole also has bylines at iGaming Business, ICE 365, and IGB North America. You can email him at [email protected].
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